Grads in fashion

Grads in fashion

Several Calvin grads work in fashion in New York City, include Rire Nakapodia and Brooke Konopka-Lagrand


HOMETOWN: Lagos, Nigeria
CURRENT WORK: retail designer for Aéropostale

Take a look at your jeans for a second. Where did you buy them? Hollister? American Eagle? Target? What made you buy them there?

These are questions Rire Nakpodia ’93 thinks about every single day of his work life as a retail designer for the popular clothing brand Aéropostale.

Brands are living, organic things,” he says. “People feel a brand is either who they are or who they aspire to be. That image doesn’t just happen; it’s created, designed.

Though Rire currently works presenting Aéropostale online, previously he worked for New York & Co. doing all aspects of retail design—store windows, websites, print ads, packaging, logos and label design. He appreciates being able to draw people to a clothing brand that fits real people.

For his success in the New York fashion world, he credits his art professors at Calvin for giving him a great foundation. “Calvin has the best art teachers. I’ve been to art school here in New York, and I’ve had great professors here, but I really ran into the best art professors for me at Calvin… . All my professors were not only great teachers and mentors, they became good friends.”


MAJOR: English
HOMETOWN: Grand Rapids, Mich.
CURRENT WORK: patternmaker at rag & bone

English major to fashion professional in NYC—how does that even happen? 

It did for Brooke, who describes her Calvin education as “eclectic.” The Calvin classroom was a safe environment in which to think new thoughts, explore unimagined places and ultimately, form a lifelong approach to the world.  

“Professors were a sounding board for what my friends and I were unearthing about the arts, philosophy and religion,” she said.  

Now that Brooke’s found her way into fashion in the big city, she misses what happened in her classes at Calvin.  

“Calvin’s classrooms are intimate, relationally engaged and always delightfully challenging!”


VERGE: fall 2012

GIS: A New Kind of Mapping
After-hours at Calvin
Financial Aid
From model airplanes to the Dreamliner
Get your tickets
Grads in fashion
Immersion into India
Meet the athlete: Miles Colago
RE-IGKNIGHT: Igniting a shift of focus
First-year experience: First-Year Experience: Matt Medendorp
Gallery: Instagram It!
Faculty Profile: Professor Jason VanHorn, geography
Alumni Profile: The liberal arts and Broadway
There's 4 years worth of CITY here
First-Year Experience
  • How you spend your time in college is probably going to look a little different from how you spent it in high school (goodbye study hall!) Check out these schedules from real freshmen to get a feel for how your day might look at Calvin.

    Kurt Delos-Trino »
    Youth ministry
    Castle Rock, Colorado
    Ansley Kelly »
    McKean, Pennsylvania
  • We'd like to introduce to some pretty cool people. They're doing some pretty great things, both at Calvin and beyond.

    Professor Debra Bossenbroek & Suzan Couzens, nursing Professor Debra Bossenbroek & Suzan Couzens, nursing »
  • When you choose Calvin, you choose Grand Rapids, too. Thankfully, GR is the kind of place you won't mind spending four years, with more new restaurants, shops and events opening all the time!

    There's 4 Years of PLAY Here There's 4 Years of FUN Here